Finnish Customs promotes European cooperation in customs dog activity – international exercise to take place in connection with the 2018 FIFA World Cup
In recent years, customs authorities have stepped up their cooperation involving customs dogs in the EU territory. In the context of the Customs 2020 programme, authorities have set up an EU K9 Unit Network for the purpose of enhanced information exchange, and for the development of customs dog activity. A joint customs dog exercise will be held in Finland during the 2018 FIFA World Cup that takes places in Russia. The exercise will focus on flows of passengers and goods. Customs dogs and dog trainers from several European countries will participate.
The Customs 2020 programme is helping to develop the joint EU customs activity at a practical level, to fund programmes and projects, and to consolidate the activity of the internal market. In the context of the programme, Finnish Customs has promoted cooperation in dog activity, among other things. By increasing cooperation in customs dog activity, the use of dogs in customs control tasks is enhanced, and the effect of customs controls in the EU territory is improved. The European Commission has approved the cooperation programme for customs dog activity, and supports it.
What can we gain by developing cooperation?
Almost all EU customs administrations employ dogs in various customs control tasks. The aim of the joint activity is to distribute information on phenomena detected in flows of passengers and goods and on best practices in customs enforcement, and in this way to develop the skills of dog trainers and customs dogs.
The K9 Unit Network for dog activity strives towards a more efficient use of customs dogs, and aims at establishing common recommendations and guidelines for customs dog activity in the EU territory. The joint activity involving customs dogs will be practiced and tested in the context of tasks aimed the protection of society.
Joint exercise in Finland in connection with the 2018 FIFA World Cup
The first international joint exercise of the K9 Unit Network will involve actual operative activity in Finland. In additional to Finnish authorities, dogs and dog trainers from 11 countries will take part. The customs dogs participating in the exercise have specialised in searching for narcotics, cigarettes, money and weapons.
– In my view, our aim in the EU territory should be to jointly utilise customs enforcement tools further. This would serve the efficient and flexible implementation of customs enforcement in the EU, says Mr Mikko Grönberg, Director of Enforcement.
The operative exercise is one of the enforcement measures taken by Finnish Customs during the World Cup. The exercise is aimed at arriving and departing passenger and goods traffic at airports and harbours, and on railways and border crossing points on the Finland-Russia border. In addition to customs control tasks, the objective of the exercise is for EU authorities to gain experience in international cooperation involving customs dog activity in a real-time customs control environment. The exercise will take place in accordance with the objectives agreed on by the K9 Unit Network.
– The dog activity network has sparked wide interest in EU Member States. Enhancement of customs control cooperation between Member States is one of the central objectives of the EU in the years ahead, says Mr Kari Marjamäki, Head of Enforcement.
Dog trainers who take part in the exercise will wear the customs uniforms of their respective countries, and dogs will wear identification vests when performing customs control tasks at border crossing points.